"As it drew near the great furnaces where, in the deeps of time, it had been shaped and forged, the Ring’s power grew, and it became more fell, untameable except by some mighty will. As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dur. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be."
-The Return of the King
Tolkien and his works have been in my life since I was a young boy. My brother and sister and I grew up on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins and their part in the war against Sauron. The cartoon movies stick out in my mind as some our favorite films as youngsters, and this deck was born from a simple question: what if Samwise had fallen? What if he became the leader of men the Ring showed him he could be, and he stormed the Dark Tower and took the place if the Dark Lord?
With this alternate theme in mind, I designed this deck, which is centered around two strategies: empowering Sam through engagement of higher threat enemies and attachments, and trapping said enemies to debuff them so they pose no threat to him. Halbarad allows you to engage more than one enemy to make Sam even bigger, and Damrod offers card draw and cheaper traps. Ranger Spear goes on Damrod, Halbarad for more damage to trapped enemies, and you can either put Dúnedain Warning on Sam Gamgee or on one of your Ranger heroes if you've already got Hobbit Cloak attached and you want another defender. Gandalf of course is a catch all but should primarily be used to help keep your threat low, and if there is a card in the list you think doesn't belong, I would swap it out for Sneak Attack to enable use of him more.
Please post deck improvement suggestions in the comments. All hail Samwise the Strong!!